Third Morn of February, Year of Our Lord Twenty-Hundred and Thirteen
The order is given. The news of it races through the ranks, filling every man whom hears it with that tightness of breath and chest and fist which only righteous fervour can bring. The Ninth crusade is called, and every man on every continent of God’s united Earth rushes to join it.
I admit, I had begun to doubt. Not in Him – for He of course is perfection and His plan also – but in the alchemists; those wizened, twisted sinners, their hearts full of low cunning and black magic. To tell truth, I doubted the wisdom behind the Realm’s tolerance of their continued existence, as I know did many. What could those decrepit old men, with their potions and parlour tricks, give us which the Lord himself would not in due time see fit to bestow upon the faithful? But the Lord works in mysterious ways; even, it seems, through the hands of heretics.
For it is undoubtedly His will which those wicked hands have wrought. Another world! Waiting, unseeable but by Him, betwixt the very fabric of reality itself; and now pierced by us. Had the message not borne the sigil of the High King, I would not have believed the words before me. But they are good and they are true. The Black Order in Geneva have opened a window to another world, and Benedict in Rome has laid out that call which all faithful men must answer.
And answer they shall. The birds have flown to all corners of the world, and every able soldier from New England to The Horn to Van Diemen’s Land will come. There is true jubilation tonight, as if a merry madness has gripped the entire city. People drink and dance and weep openly in the streets, praising His holy name, and it is not difficult to understand why. For or so long we have waited, desolate of direction and devoid of purpose. Two score years of doubt, of disillusion, fragmentation and infighting, as the Christian peoples of the world wondered “What now?” We had spread to every corner of the globe, put to the stake every non-believer and rooted out heresy in all its forms. When the last of the Maori savages lay slain, the last pockets of resistance burned away, we had thought our mission complete; and so, perhaps greedily, we had awaited salvation. But salvation did not come – despite our triumphs, despite our faith, despite our forging of a united Christian world. How had we failed, we cried. What more did the Lord desire, what more could he ask of us?
And now we know.
Fifteenth Night of October, Year of Our Lord Twenty-Hundred and Thirteen
Our company joined that of the Tenochtitlan Brethren this morning. A savage people, only a few generations United, but their dedication to Him is unquestionable, if a little… sanguine. I had believed there little truth to the rumours of their habit of nailing heretics to the cross in honour of Our Lord’s perfect Sacrifice; but it seems I was mistaken. Regardless it was an enlightening, if unconventional, display of faith to witness, and one which the Brethren, purportedly, look to carry into the New World; as the heretics of our own Earth are, blessedly, in short supply.
The New World. The thought of it fills my every waking hour and echoes across my dreams. I can feel God’s guiding hand on my shoulder as I march towards the righteous host massing at its door. Another world, another Earth, full of heretics which He would have us purge; and purge them we shall. Captain Frederick today raised the question if they shall all be heretics, if the Lord is known of there or if they all stumble in darkness. I admit, we do not know – anything is possible. But regardless, I assured him, be there innocents among them, we will purge them all like gold in the fire. God will know His own.
Second Night of April, Year of Our Lord Twenty-Hundred and Fourteen
It is done. The last regiments of pike from Jakarta arrived this morning, and the Order of the Antarctic this afternoon – the latter almost twice the height of a normal man, armoured in insulating plate as they were. The host is gathered, almost a billion strong, of lance and sword and horses. I am too excited to sleep. Tomorrow, we bring the Unity of the Lord to the New World.
Fourth Night of April, Year of Our Lord Twenty-Hundred and Fourteen
Lord protect me. I do not know if anyone will ever find this, but please, tell the host to turn back. We did not understand this world, the magicks its peoples wield. We came to conquer, but we are undone. Lord save us. It seemed so easy. The first town was defenceless, no spears nor clubs nor even the meanest armour, though it hummed with the movement of twisted machines. The second was the same, its people running in panic at our advance, cattle to the slaughter.
But then came the third. We had barely got within a bow’s length of the first house when the air cracked as if with thunder, short sharp bursts, and suddenly my companions fell dying around me, holes appearing as if by witchcraft in their armour and their lifeblood draining from them. I do not know how it is possible; I have seen the chestplates of these men deflect swings of a broadsword, but they punctured now like wet paper against this unseen force. And this was only the beginning.
From over the plains, rolling fortresses set upon us, like iron carriages but drawn by no horses I could perceive. From them came deafening booms, and I could only watch in horror as entire battalions simply disintegrated in blasts of dust and fire. We stormed them, losing a hundred men for every one that survived, but our charge was for nought, for our steel could not hurt them, our arrows did not pierce, and even the rocks that our engines hurled broke hopelessly upon their sides. It was madness; thousands slaughtered, maybe millions, a discord mess of voices calling in contradiction to advance, assist or retreat. But it was too late. The magick of these Other Worldmen had turned the very sky against us, and now there was nowhere we could run, nowhere we could hide. High whistles cut the air, and seemingly from nothingness explosions tore the very ground asunder. We ran. All of us, all brave men of Christ, we all turned tail and fled, our mission all but forgotten in the face of such unimaginable slaughter.
I write this from a small cave in which I shelter. I can see them passing, these men, the ones who hunt me; clad not in armour but in misshapen robes of mottled green, in each of their hands the twisted artefacts that I believe tore holes in the bodies of my comrades. I pray to God to protect me from them, but I do not know if my prayers reach Him. We were wrong. We were so wrong. We came believing that He was with us. But we came from a world of God.
And this is a world of Satan.